Curbing the DDA
According to Parker, though, "the DDA responded in a responsible and timely manner. Susan and I had a conversation and an open discussion of the issues," she says. "We've had an amicable and open relationship for as long as I've been here: eleven and a half years. Susan has been extremely responsive." Indeed: Library Lane is so named because it's right outside her front door.
Hieftje suggests Kunselman punches the DDA because "they don't punch back, so they're an easy target for a bully. If discussions this year had started in a cooperative way, it would have been much easier. But Kunselman was confrontational. He was all about 'we have more power than you, and we're going to exercise it.'"
"It's easy to beat up those who are under you," agrees Sandi Smith. "Also, the DDA is an attractive target because there's money at the DDA. and the city has needs.
"Obviously Steve has made the DDA a target because he gets political mileage out of it," Smith adds. "And some of it is personal because some board members have backed his opponents." According to campaign finance reports, since 2008 three members of the DDA board--Gunn, Lowenstein, and John Split--have given money to Kunselman's challengers.